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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The President of the Flat Rhetoric Society



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The final Morning Jolt of what feels like a very long week features trouble for Sen. Dick Lugar, a much-needed lighter note inspired from a galaxy far, far, away, and then this bit of presidential campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime:

The President of the Flat Rhetoric Society

This president gets more indignant and intolerant as his term wears on, doesn’t it? After Solyndra, Ener1, Beacon Power, and gas approaching $5 per gallon, you would think this president might be a little more modest in arguing that he’s made the right calls. No, he still has the gall to insist that his critics are backwards and ignorant – at an “official”, not campaign, event, no less.

Although it was billed as an official White House event, Obama’s appearance took on the feeling of a campaign rally. Hundreds of enthusiastic students filled the college’s gymnasium and chanted “Four more years!”

Obama delighted them by blasting his Republican critics for their resistance to investing in alternative energy sources, comparing their stance to the beliefs of those who thought that Christopher Columbus would sail off the edge of the world.

Obama’s polls don’t always move in a direction I find logical, but part of me looks at statements like this and figures that independents have to be repelled in droves. This is so far from 2004’s “no red states or blue states, just red white and blue states” that made him a star in American politics. Take a look at that speech in Tucson: “it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds… only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation…  As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility.”

And now he’s mocking those who disagree with an energy policy that keeps funneling taxpayer money to stumbling companies run by his big donors as “The Flat Earth Society.”

Clayton Cramer scoffs, “Now, if you attended high school, or college, you would know (or should know) that there was no educated European who thought the Earth was flat.  None.  The dispute that made it hard for Columbus to get funding was that insisted the Earth was 18,000 miles in circumference, so the Indies were a plausible voyage west from Spain.  The experts who told the various governments of Europe that Columbus wasn’t going to be successful thought the Earth was closer to 25,000 miles around–and sailing west to the Indies was going to be a failure. Had there not been the Americas in the way, Columbus and crew would have died of thirst.”

Kenneth Green notices Obama emerging victorious from another tense fight with a straw man:

As it happens, I don’t agree with the whole “all of the above” thing, but most of Mr. Obama’s opponents do in one form or another:

Newt Gingrich: “My administration will pursue an “all of the above” American Energy Policy that allows expanded development of oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, and nuclear sources of energy.”

Mitt Romney: “Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.”

“Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research, utilize long-term, apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research.”

Rick Santorum: “Expand domestic innovations and energy resources. This includes oil, natural gas, hydro, biomass, wind, solar, clean coal, and nuclear energy.”

Ron Paul: “Make tax credits available for the purchase and production of alternative fuel technologies.”

As for who likes gas-guzzling cars, well, the president really isn’t one to talk: His primary ride gets 8 MPG. But of course, comparing the presidential limo to a regular car would be, well, an unfair comparison, unlike, say, comparing people who disapprove of costly wind turbines and solar power parks to members of the Flat Earth Society.

Doug Powers informs us, “Quick factoid before we get started: Not many people know this, but the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria didn’t rely on sails but were instead pushed to the New World by algae.”


Tags: Barack Obama , Gas Prices


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